Facebook may have improved its spam filters but it continues to be flooded with bogus user accounts, which actually are taken for very real by the untrained eye. According to recent statistics, 10 per cent of about 1.35 billion Facebook users could be clever ads, social-media savvy burglars, psychopaths and more.
Besides, the world’s largest social networking platform has millions of users who create fake identities and appear as regular users (interestingly, majority of them come from developing markets like India and Turkey).
A start-up based out of Israel tried to address the concern of Facebook users by developing an application called FakeOff. The app is aimed at protecting users from scams devised by fake Facebook users, who are often mistaken for real friends.
How did you come up with the idea of developing an app to detect fake profiles on Facebook?
A year ago, I was scammed by a nice girl on Facebook that turned out to be a fake profile. I was lucky that I uncovered her with 20 different profiles (with the same photos) just a few days after we connected. After being confronted, the woman made a start to delete all of the accounts in three seconds.
This pushed me to develop a serious app to protect Facebook users from those fake friends.
How does FakeOff app help users in identifying bogus accounts on Facebook? Please explain.
FakeOFF uses several innovative techniques to spot a fake profile:
First, we use our smart algorithm to scan the suspect’s timeline and identify abnormal activities generally used by scammers.
We give our users an easy way to scan the suspect’s photos and find if the photo was stolen from some other place on the Web.
Our database contains huge amount of verified users that we cross link to help our users get even more accurate result.
Can you share the algorithm that the app uses to detect fake Facebook users?
The sophisticated algorithm is confidential and can scan up to 1 year of timeline activity for every suspect Facebook friend to check what is normal and what isn’t normal.
Have you received any negative feedback from users so far?
We have a feedback system on our app and it’s important for us to pay attention to all feedbacks, especially negative ones.
We did got get negative feedback in the first few weeks of the app regarding its performance and design, and we upgraded the app to provide our users with a better experience.
Is the FakeOff app beneficial for enterprise users too? If yes, please explain.
Business use ‘Pages’ to promote their services. The problem with ‘Pages’ is that they get likes many a time from unwanted sources. Fake likes can make one dupe into believing that a Page has many fans. But the truth is most of the likes are not from real people or the likes are given to the Page using Like Farm companies.
With FakeOFF services, businesses will soon be able to monitor their competitors and analyze their own ‘likes’ credibility level. Also, understanding the percentage of fake likes can help them better understand the sudden jump in business’s Fan Page and more.
Is the app available on multiple platforms?
The app is available on PC and special version for mobile browsers, and we are launching iOS and Android apps very soon.
Any plans to open source the app in near future?
Open sourcing the app is not part of our strategic plan but we do plan to open a commercial API soon.